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Reusable Menstrual Products

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February 20, 2018
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I made the switch to reusable menstrual products back in 2015 and have not looked back. I wish I could say that I was frustrated with the amount of waste associated with period products, but my main reasons for switching over was that I kept on forgetting to repurchase tampons and pads and I was worried I was losing too much blood!

Today I’m discussing a few options for reusable menstrual products if having a greener period has been on your mind and you are looking to make a leap!

Menstrual Pads

Replaces: Pads
Sits on: your underwear
Cost:
$11+ for a single pad, depends on absorbency 
Material:
Cotton
Flow Type: Heavy to Light
Absorb or Collect:
Absorb
Brands:
LunaPads, HannahPads, TreeHugger, FoxyCloth, GladRags 
Cleaning:
Rinse + toss in washing machine
Lifespan: Around 3 years
Kid-friendly?: Yes

These are exactly how they sound. Some brands are a two part system (pad base and insert) and others are simply one part. Basically, the pad will fasten around the gusset of your underwear. The gusset will be lined with extra padding to absorb menstrual blood. Across brands, there will be different styles – from pantyliners to overnight pads.  

This option can be also paired with menstrual cups, for added protection. Depending on how long your period lasts, you may want to pick up a kit which might be the most cost effective. If you use disposable menstrual pads, keep track of how many you use per day, as you’ll probably use the same amount of reusable ones.  

Period Underwear

Replaces: Pads
Cost:
$16+, dependent on underwear style and brand
Material:
Dependent on brand
Flow Type: Heavy to Light
Absorb or Collect:
Absorb
Amount of flow: 5-10mL dependent on pair
Brands:
Knix, Thinx, LunaPads, TreeHugger
Cleaning:
Rinse + toss in washing machine
Lifespan: Maybe forever?
Kid-friendly?: Yes

This was my next foray into reusable menstrual products. I found that on my heavy nights I would fill my menstrual cup and leak. Along with purchasing some hydrogen peroxide, I went ahead and purchased two types of period underwear. I found that for nights, I preferred my Thinx pair because it was lined throughout. Whereas I could use the Knix pair on my regular days with my cup (check out my review on two popular brands here!).

Most period underwear is simply lined at the gusset, however Thinx is an exception as it is lined throughout. Depending on your cycle, you can purchase multiple pairs and styles which have different absorbencies. This option can also be paired with a cup (my preferred way to use them) for added protection!

Menstrual Cup

Replaces: Tampons
Sits in: the vaginal canal
Cost:
$20+
Material:
Usually medical-grade silicone
Flow Type: Heavy to Light
Absorb or Collect:
Collect
Amount of flow: Averages of 30mL, depends on brand
When to empty: 8 – 12 hours, shorter during heavy flow days
Brands:
DivaCup, Lunette, MoonCup, Lena, Intima
Cleaning:
Empty and wash
Lifespan: Around 1+ years
Kid-friendly?: Maybe not

As mentioned in the intro, this was my first foray into reusable menstrual products. I chose this product because at the time it was the only option I knew about and it could tell me how much blood I was losing per cycle (because it turns out I was iron deficient!). 

To be perfectly honest, insertion and removal was NOT easy the first few times I used it. While I didn’t time it, it felt like it took 40min each time! Luckily for me, this was just a learning curve and it’s much better now. I should mention for the cup I use, it says that I should rotate it to get suction and keep it in place, and I don’t think I do that. Nevertheless, I don’t experience any leakage. 

I had mentioned that this might not be a kid-friendly option, only because of the insertion and removal process. But perhaps as kids get older, they may be more comfortable doing so. Also, this is a good option for swimmers! Lastly, the cups usually come in a few sizes. Some brands differentiate them by turning 30 or having a vaginal childbirth. 

For more information on how to choose a cup, check out Put A Cup In It!

Final Thoughts

Are you thinking of switching over to reusable menstrual products or have you done so already? I’d love for you to share your story!

Most importantly, if you found this information helpful, please sign up for my monthly newsletter called The Flow for great and informative content like this!

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